Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't Try This at Home

This snippet, taken from an internet posting on the subject of people breaking up fighting dogs, caught my eye:
When my two dogs fight I can put my hands or face right between them without the slightest fear of being bitten.
Let's assume that we are all in agreement that freedom from fear does not equate with actual safety. That aside, I interpret the sentiment to be one of "I know and trust my own dogs so well that normal safety measures do not apply in my interactions with them". While I can understand the sentiment on a certain level - after all, many of us feel that the bond we have with our dogs is special - I would offer that the feeling is misguided. It is perhaps akin to "I'm such a safe driver, I don't need to wear a seat belt".

Reality is comprised of each of our interpretations of life colliding. We think we can predict events based on past experiences or even a sense of faith. To some extent, this is not only possible but in fact useful. But nature - which includes animal behavior - has a way of upsetting the apple cart on a regular basis by reminding us of a basic truth: Life is uncertain.

Putting one's hands/face between two fighting dogs - regardless of any bond one feels with those dogs - is just bad judgment in my opinion. Humans may be top of the food chain but we can not control everything in life and certainly not dog behavior. For myself, I don't want to take too many chances - I've only got one pair of hands, one face and one, you know - life.


mb. said...

wow. just wow.

Many, many years ago my sister became ill & could no longer care for herself, so her 9 year old, spayed black lab came to live with us. Amy-dog was a trained therapy dog & a "canine good citizen" & had been used as the this-is-how-good-your-dog-could-be teaser when my sister had a very successful dog training business.

One of our dogs was not so well behaved & really did not like the idea of a new friend. One morning Josie went for Amy-dog, unprovoked etc. My husband grabber Josie by her hind leg & collar & Amy -who had never been aggressive towards any one- bit him clean through the fleshy part of his palm at the thumb.

We have always thought she was just defending herself, but the nicest dog in the world can bite.

Amy-dog lived with us for another seven years, we never had a single other problem with her, but we made sure to feed these two separately, etc. until they were both just too decrepit to do any damage.

Pibble said...

Call it good old common sense, but I just KNOW that when a stove is hot I shouldn't touch it. For similar reasons, one shouldn't put oneself between two dogs who are fighting.

I've had three of my dogs for 12 years, I know them very well, and I love them with all of my heart. I'm not putting my hands between them if they should have a fight. I like to think I'm smarter than that!

Darlene said...

When I got my second dog and the two were having spats I would try and grab a collar to pull them apart.

I did this fully realizing that any involvement by me could result in a bite, although I was lucky and never did.

A friend of mine reached in between his dog and mine, and got a nasty bite from one of the dogs (we still don't know who) on the fleshy part of his thumb.

That's the risk one takes. It might not stop me from intervening, but I sure wouldn't be surprised at the results.

Schwang said...

As a high school teacher in the inner-city, I know even our highschoolers don't have the sense not to hurt a bystander when they're in the middle of a fight; I would never expect dogs to have better judgment. That's why we use Direct Stop--for pooches, not my highschoolers.

Rinalia said...

I trust my dogs to be dogs. Period. End of story.

There are certainly a lot of things I'd do with my own dogs I wouldn't try on an unknown dog.

Sticking my FACE in between them and another dog fighting is not one of them.